Observe, Don’t Absorb, Self Love Deficit, and Gaslighting

Written by Angela Atkinson


I recently interviewed Ross Rosenberg, one of the pioneers in narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic abuse recovery, and codependency. See part one of the Rosenberg interview on YouTube.

Who is Ross Rosenberg?

Ross Rosenberg is a psychotherapist and author of The Human Magnet Syndrome. He owns the Self-Love Recovery Institute. He is an expert on narcissism, codependency, and the relationships that happen between the two. He developed a treatment program that solves. if not cures, codependency or self-love deficit disorder. He is one of the pioneers in the field of narcissism and narcissistic abuse recovery. He has taught and spoken all over the world. In fact, he has an informative webinar coming up based on his extensive work in this field.

How did Ross Rosenberg create his Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique?

“The Observe Don’t Absorb technique was created without knowing what I was doing,” Rosenberg told me, adding that it was 30 years ago when he’d been in an extremely abusive relationship. His partner at the time had BPD (borderline personality disorder).

“I realized had all the power over me if she could trigger me and get me mad, because she, like any person with BPD, would get angry, hurt me, and then cycle back and become in love with me again,” Rosenberg said. “And so the best way that she could feel better is if she could make me as angry as she was.”

Once he realized what was going on, he knew he needed to do something to protect himself.

“So, I developed this technique to safely and in a healthy manner disassociate from the environment and the person trying to trigger me or activate me,” he said, adding that the lesson comes from a George bernard shaw saying that goes, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

How does the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique work?

Rosenberg said that the whole point of the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique “is the narcissist, when they want power over you, they want to get you into what I call their wrestling ring, and that is where they always are in control, and they have all the power.”

“So once they get a reaction out of you, through many techniques (including induced conversation technique), you lose your power because narcissists know how to fight,” he said. “They know how to manipulate, they know how to guilt and shame; and an SLD or codependent can never stand their own.”

“Essentially, the Observe, Don’t Absorb Technique is a way to safely disassociate from a narcissist who gains power by triggering your emotions and making you fight them in a fight that you can never win,” Rosenberg said.

What is Self-Love Deficicit Disorder?

Rosenberg said he’d never liked the term codependency because “codependency” is antiquated and it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

“So I decided to come up with a replacement term, and it took me a while to figure out, but ultimately it was Self-Love Deficit Disorder, and that’s the problem,” he said. “And the person (with the problem) is self-love deficient, so SLDD for the problem, SLD for the person.”

He said he came up with these terms to help people understand that “what they’re suffering from not only has a name that fits the problem, but also gives you direction on what to solve in order to not to have that problem anymore.”

Ross Rosenberg’s definition of narcissism

Rosenberg said that as he was writing his book, The Human Magnet Syndrome, it was incredibly important to make specific diagnoses so that people knew what he was talking about.

“There are so many people out there on the internet, Youtube, TikTok, everywhere, that use the term, and they don’t have a mental health background,” he said. “So I don’t use the word narcissism; I use the word pathological narcissism.”

“These individuals have personality disorders as defined in the Diagnostic Statistic Manual used by psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and psychologists,” he said. “So I don’t use the term narcissist to talk about someone because that’s an ex that’s a description of someone is being narcissistic, but when I say pathological narcissist, I am talking about someone with a personality disorder.”

He added that pathological narcissists are harmful to the people around them and unable to understand or know what they’re doing.

“And perhaps they don’t care; they perpetuate harm on others,” he said. “The term pathological narcissist refers to someone with borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, or anti-social personality disorder.”

“So, therefore, when I use the word narcissist, I’m using a term that is a clinical explanation of a mental health disorder.” Rosenberg continued. “So now there’s little dispute on who’s a narcissist or not because therapists, doctors. professionals such as I cannot use a term unless they fit the diagnostic profile.”

Ross Rosenberg on Gaslighting

“Gaslighting is a manipulative ploy used by pathological narcissists who have sociopathic traits,” Rosenberg said. “In other words, they know what they’re doing. They’re not the garden variety narcissist who’s oblivious to their narcissism.”

“Gaslighting is a manipulative, systematically perpetrated strategy that pathological narcissists use to control and often hurt their victims,” he continued, adding that narcissists do this by instilling a narrative about a person that something is wrong with them, when nothing was.

Or, he said, narcissits will manipulate you “with a problem they had that was originally mild, while systematically manipulating the environment to prove their narrative.”

Of course, the victim eventually recognizes this fake narrative and identifies with the problem. And, Rosenberg said, “As the gaslighter manipulates them to identify with the problem,  he then builds a narrative that they are needy, unlikable, and would do better if they isolate.”

The Cherry on Top of the Gaslighting Sundae

“The cherry on top of the gaslighting sundae is then the gaslighter portrays himself as the only one that loves, accepts, and will protect the victim; therefore, the victim has taken on a psychological problem or disorder, feeling broken unlovable, and encouraged to isolate,” he said. “And then picking the person that has designed the whole plan. And then no one in their outside world – friends, family, or loved ones – can get to them to try to bring them back to reality. And therefore, they are trapped – and sometimes forever trapped – by the scheming, sociopathic, gaslighting narcissist.”

Question of the Day

Have you ever heard of the human magnet syndrome before? What about SLDD and SLDs? Have you heard of those, and could you relate to his points about gaslighting? Would you please share your thoughts share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video and let’s talk about it,

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